Cops Tied to Breonna Taylor’s Death Arrested and Charged

The DOJ has charged four current and former Louisville police officers, sources told VICE News: Brett Hankison, Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Hanna Goodlett, and Kyle Meany.
Former Louisville Police officer Brett Hankison wipes a tear from his eye as he is questioned by his defense attorney Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Louisville, Kentucky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, Pool)

The FBI has arrested current and former Louisville Metro Police officers who were somehow involved in the deadly raid that killed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, according to multiple sources.

The three officers, who were taken into custody Thursday morning, include former detectives Brett Hankison and Joshua Jaynes, as well as Sgt. Kyle Meany. Detective Kelly Hanna Goodlett was not arrested but has been charged.

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The Department of Justice confirmed the charges in a press conference Thursday morning during which U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland elaborated on the charges. They include two counts of deprivation of civil rights against Hankison for firing 10 shots through a window and glass door along the side of Taylor’s apartment. 

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The three other officers—Jaynes, Goodlett, and Meany—have been charged with conspiracy for violating Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights due to their roles in drafting and submitting a false affidavit used to secure a search warrant for Taylor’s residence in a drug-related investigation.

No officers have been directly charged with Taylor’s death, including the officer who shot her, Myles Cosgrove, although he was fired 9 months after the deadly raid.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland said Thursday.

Hankison was not part of the initial investigation that led to the search warrant on Taylor’s apartment, but he played a pivotal role in the execution of the warrant during which she was killed.

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He was fired in the summer of 2020 for what the department described as an “extreme indifference to the value of human life” and then charged by the Kentucky Attorney’s General Office on three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets that went into the apartment of one of Taylor’s neighbors. Hankison was acquitted earlier this year. 

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A photo of Breonna Taylor is seen among other photos of women who have lost their lives as a result of violence during the 2nd Annual Defend Black Women March in Black Lives Matter Plaza on July 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Frontline Action Hub)

The charges against the three other officers include not only allegations of falsifying information but an attempted cover-up after the fact. Jaynes and Goodlett met up in a garage in May 2020, two months after Taylor’s death, and agreed to tell investigators a false story, according to the DOJ. 

Jaynes, who was responsible for filling out the warrant, was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department in 2020 after officials concluded that he had lied in the affidavit. Jaynes wrote that he had verified through the postal inspector that Jamarcus Glover—Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, a suspected drug dealer, and the main target of the police investigation—was receiving suspicious packages at her address. But that claim was refuted by both the postal inspector and Jaynes’ colleagues. 

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Jaynes’ arrest was reported by local station WDRB earlier Thursday morning. 

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Goodlett, who helped fill out the warrant and worked on the same small team that led the investigation, has been on leave since early 2021, when a probe was opened into allegations that she and several other officers had thrown drinks at Louisville residents from their police vehicles.

Meany, the sergeant in charge of Goodlett and Jaynes’ team, was responsible for overseeing the investigation, including vetting affidavits and search warrants submitted by his team.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke confirmed that these charges are separate from the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into whether Louisville Metro Police Department has “patterns and practices” of violating citizen’s rights.

Correction 8/4 2:48 pm ET: The text and headline have been updated to reflect that three officers were arrested. We regret the error.